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'Ukraine war must end with…,' Is Zelensky now going on the offensive?

Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, Tuesday Aug. 9, 2022. The explosion of munitions caused a fire at a military air base in Russian-annexed Crimea Tuesday but no casualties or damage to stationed warplanes, Russia's Defense Ministry said. (UGC via AP) (AP)Premium
Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, Tuesday Aug. 9, 2022. The explosion of munitions caused a fire at a military air base in Russian-annexed Crimea Tuesday but no casualties or damage to stationed warplanes, Russia's Defense Ministry said. (UGC via AP) (AP)

  • Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pledged to liberate Crimea as speculations explode about the cause of a major fire at an air base on the Russian-occupied peninsula.

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As the war against arch rival Russia enters 6th month Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has dropped a hint at when and how he wants it to end. Speaking after a string of explosions hit a Russian airbase in Crimea, Zelensky said, the war began with Crimea and must end with Crimea. 

He has pledged to “liberate" Crimea as speculation explode about the cause of a major fire at an air base on the Russian-occupied peninsula, leading to one casualty.

“This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea -- its liberation," Zelenskiy said late Tuesday. He did not mention the blaze, which resulted in one fatality, according to Russian state media.

After defending its land from the Russian occupation is Ukraine now going on the offensive to recapture the lost territory of Crimea?

In what is seen to be an escalation of the ongoing war in Ukraine, powerful explosions rocked a Russian air base in Crimea and sent towering clouds of smoke over the landscape. At least one person was killed and several others were wounded, authorities said.

Russia's Defence Ministry has claimed that munitions had exploded at the base the fire wasn't caused by an incoming strike. Some defence analysts meanwhile feel this is a hallmark of a Ukrainian attack. Ukrainian social networks were abuzz with speculation that it was hit by Ukrainian-fired long-range missiles.

Videos posted on social networks showed sunbathers on nearby beaches fleeing as huge flames and pillars of smoke rose over the horizon from multiple points, accompanied by loud booms.

Russia's state news agency Tass quoted an unidentified ministry source as saying the explosions' primary cause appeared to be a “violation of fire safety requirements."

The ministry said no warplanes were damaged.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said sarcastically on Facebook: “The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine cannot establish the cause of the fire, but once again recalls the rules of fire safety and the prohibition of smoking in unspecified places."

In a separate development, Ukrainian officials say 13 people were killed in overnight Russian strikes in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, and another one in the Zaporizhzhia region in the south. The new Russian force, called the 3rd Army Corps, is based in the city of Mulino, east of Russia's capital, Moscow, the British Defence Ministry said in a daily intelligence bulletin.

Crimea is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine - but the Black Sea peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014 after a referendum which the global community sees as illegitimate. Many Ukrainians see this as the start of their war with Russia.

(With agency inputs)

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